FLOW: The Web of Interconnections, by  Beth Racette and Barbara Westfall

This installation is a collaborative exploration of the interconnectedness of all living beings. Through our evocation of the natural world and its manipulation by human beings, we invite viewers to appreciate and enjoy the beauty, fecundity, and complexity of life on our planet.

The installation flows through the gallery, encompassing land and water. The landscape contains a diversity of life forms—lush branches of leaves, fruits, flowers, and live plants. Below ground are roots, larvae, and microbes that grow in the soil. The nest represents home—a place to rest, be sheltered, and rejuvenate; we all need a home, and in a larger sense, the earth is home to us all. The nest contains feathers, sumac, and ceramic forms that suggest animal creatures.

The largest part of the installation invokes the water that covers most of our planet. We ourselves are made mostly of water, but clean water is becomming increasingly scarce. The grapefine forced into the copper pipe signifies the ways in which humans exercise power over nature. The bubbling black liquid  feeding into the copper pipe suggests the oil and gas held in the earth.

We chose grapevine as the primary element. The grapevine (vitis aestivalis), from western Dane County public and private lands, was sustainably harvested to ensure its future growth and to support the life of the surrounding plant communities competing for sunlight and growing space.

The porcelain objects suggest particular life forms or combinations of these lifeforms. The paintings explore the interrelationships that are the basis of life, and repeating patterns that mirror one another in both the microscopic (cell) and macroscopic (galaxies).


We invite viewers to contemplate with us the interconnections between ourselves and the other beings who share this planet.